Photo: Miami-Dade College by Ines Hegedus Garcia.
Eduardo J. Padrón is president of Miami Dade College. Knight Foundation is providing $2.1 million in support to broaden the work of the new entrepreneurship hub at Miami Dade College, the Idea Center.Related Link
“You’ve either got it or you don’t.” We’ve all heard that familiar blanket assessment at some point in our lives. It might have rung in your ears on an athletic field, stung you in a classroom or dampened your confidence in a work environment. Granted, most of us don’t have Michael Jordan’s athleticism or Einstein’s smarts, but nonetheless, most of the time that mantra of “you’ve either got it or you don’t” is dead wrong. And contrary to popular opinion, it’s off the mark when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Miami Dade College (MDC) and Knight Foundation are about to prove it with the introduction of the Idea Center at MDC. Entrepreneurship is a skill to be learned, and one that finds its expression in the community. Through our partnership with Knight Foundation and Babson College, one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial institutions, we’re introducing entrepreneur-focused programming that will span the curriculum, cultivating ideas and entrepreneurial ventures in a full range of business and social endeavors.
I’ve spent more than 40 years in a college environment with students who might not have had Harvard credentials at the start. But in fact, many have gone on to Harvard, and countless others have become the leaders of every major industry and public sector in our community. The Idea Center will offer that same supportive environment, the same spirit of possibility to young entrepreneurs. The Idea Center will be an education-focused accelerator where students and young business leaders can test and refine ideas and budding ventures in the company of seasoned and dedicated faculty and entrepreneurs.
We’re creating an entrepreneurial belief system that is as important as the specific preparation Miami Dade College has offered in response to workforce needs. And we’re crafting an environment that nurtures people and their ideas toward new expression.
We live in one of America’s leading-edge communities. We are a young and diverse amalgam, too often hampered by a lack of economic opportunity. But dynamic ideas – and needs – exist in every neighborhood, and the Idea Center’s programs can open a doorway of possibility. Programs in the works such as the Idea Factory, which will support novice innovators; the Startup Challenge, which will host a lively competition among new innovators and provide initial support to the winners; Phase II Ventures, which will be a resource for small business owners who are ready for the next level; and the Lean LaunchPad, offering students the chance to test new products and gain direct input from customers.
“You’ve either got it or you don’t” is not a phrase you’ll hear at the Idea Center. Together, Miami Dade College and Knight Foundation are opening a doorway of immense possibility for young entrepreneurs, young people with the spirit and creative talent to take our community to the next level.